Beauty for Ashes

by Leslie Ann Jones September 01, 2018

Beauty for Ashes

Hello Friend!

Has your life been as crazy as mine lately? Between school starting, volunteer commitments, moving into wholesale, running a household, planning a new Bible study at church, and operating a small (but growing) business out of our home, I feel like life has been more than a little crazy around here lately.

Case in point. Last week we had our daughter's birthday party.

Two months after her actual birthday.

My planner's always a little too packed, and my to do lists are always a little too long. I've been blowing and going full steam ahead for months now, and something had to give. I was at the end of my rope. So, a few weeks ago, after agonizing about it for what seemed like forever, I did a hard thing and crossed a major commitment off my list. Then I breathed deeply for the first time in months.

In that moment, it felt like I was standing before the Lord with nothing left to offer but a dry and worn-out soul, and because He's so very good, He breathed life back into me. He gently pried my fingers apart and gave me beauty in place of the ashes that I had clutched so tightly for so long.

I know that those verses in Isaiah 61 are talking about so much more than an overscheduled and overwhelmed mama. Even so, I have felt the truth of those words resonating deeply in my soul over the past few weeks.

Jesus is better, y'all. So much better.

The truth is that when life gets hairy, we usually know what we need to do to make things better, but sometimes, especially if it's a hard thing, we shy away from doing it and just keep trucking along. For some crazy reason, we prefer the ashes of this life to the beauty that God has set aside for us.

Or maybe that's just me.

This month, friends, I want to encourage you to take a good, long look at your life (and schedule) and ask yourself what needs to go and what needs to stay. What gives you life? What drains your energy? What sets your soul on fire? What puts it out? What are the ashes clutched tightly in your hand? What kind of beauty do you imagine that God is waiting to give you? After you've made your list, order your life accordingly.

I believe wholeheartedly that we were created to live life fully and abundantly, with joy and gladness, beauty and thanksgiving, and lots and lots of rejoicing.

How's that going for you?

Up until a few weeks ago, it wasn't going so well for me. Before I did the hard thing, my life was characterized with more grumbling and complaining than rejoicing. Thank the good Lord—it's getting better now.

If you're running like a chicken with your head cut off from one day to the next and you're finding it hard to be joyful, it might be time to do your own hard thing and let something go in order to make room for something better. 

And what's that, you ask?

The Lord. Room to breathe. Time enough to stop doing and just sit quietly in His presence. Dwell there with Him. He is everything that your soul requires. And in Him alone will you find the joy and peace and beauty that your soul craves.

Until next time, grace and peace.




Leslie Ann Jones
Leslie Ann Jones

Leslie Ann is the founder of Muscadine Press. She lives in small-town Mississippi with her husband and daughters. In addition to running Muscadine Press, she writes and teaches Bible studies at her home church and enjoys the privilege of speaking and teaching at women's events from time to time. She blogs semi-regularly about faith and life at leslieannjones.com.




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